God is Not a Genie

I don’t think I am depressed.  I am sad and anxious.  There is a difference.  Check out the definitions in “A bit of a sidebar”. (Actually, a week later the ‘self-editor’ me, a Mary Karr suggestion, is looking at this piece again and not sure if a good measure of petulant self-pity energized this writing.)

Today is a few months short of when we told Yasik he had to leave our home nearly 10 years ago.  He will be 27 in a few weeks.

He is scheduled for a video sentencing today.  It may be in process as I write.  It’s 11:28 a.m.

Dave is out shopping for a turkey for Thanksgiving this weekend.  I will mow the lawn after writing this because it is sunny out and the grass keeps growing, so why not?  Life does not stop; it does not make a U turn or even try another road just because it is not going the way I envisaged it.  So later today I will drive over to the tutoring agency I work with and help a middle-aged woman who is upgrading her job skills.  It may at the very least divert my emotions, gripping the normal to counter the upheaval as every unguarded moment will veer toward thoughts of my son’s bleak passage on his journey.  An ode to turkeys, lawns and other people’s needs.

Last night while trying to lull the neighbour’s young son to sleep, I held him – his eyes resolutely grasping at Paw Patrol to fight sleep and my mind and heart reciting a mantra for the outcome of Yasik’s sentencing today. Over and over I called on ‘God-as-I-understood-him’ to please send my son to a prison that will offer to show him a new path to life – in our case, quite specifically the open prison system in a nearby town.  My rational is that then we can visit more often and be a counter balance to unhealthy influences he may engage with in the prison.  It certainly sounds a reasonable prayer to me. This morning I asked my sister to pray as well for the sentence to be at this prison.  My sister’s response was, “God isn’t a genie.”  Barely holding it together, I slid over my real reaction by agreeing, not interested in arguing the pointlessness of my rational.  But to myself I think, if not God, who else is there for Yasik anymore.  And then I enter my mind dialogue with God.

In my speaking for both God and myself and therefore assuming I have some idea who God is and how He interacts with humans, I argue with Him.  Yes, I have no right to make demands; yes, I don’t know if this is how I can engage with You.  But, on the other hand, You give an open invitation when You, or your hopefully legitimate proxy, say, “Ask and it shall be given to you.  Seek and you shall find.  Knock and it shall be opened to you.”  Isn’t that what we are encouraged to do when we rub the genie’s lantern? Isn’t Yasik, especially with his back story, also someone who needs a helping hand?  But no, if you do the crime you better expect to do the time.  Round and round, throwing up mental hands in frustration, despair, confusion.  It’s a tangle of all sorts of thoughts, feelings, understandings, ignorance, love and a measure of self-pity.  There is never unalloyed altruism they say.

And it is not one I can easily talk to anyone about.  First it is such an old story now – over 10 years relentless disappointment, heart ache, anxiety, hopelessness.  Who wants to talk about it anymore?  He committed a serious crime, why should he not get the treatment others who get caught receive?  What can anyone say to out argue that?  Ok, he has the scars of abandonment being in an orphanage until almost 5.  He may have prenatal drug or alcohol impact.  School left him feeling incapable.  We didn’t understand most of what was going on in the memories, brain, and consciousness he then developed.  He ended up on the streets, in and out of trouble with the law.  The ‘stats’ on that life trajectory are awful.

So if prayer is almost my sole initiative to help my son, why prayer? Is that the best I can plan on in terms of a rational solution to the problems of the prison system, or more specifically my son’s situation in the prison system?

Ah yes, I can speak with my vote.  Which party is promising to work at a more rehabilitative prison system in readiness for the upcoming election next week?  The Conservatives under Stephen Harper took Canada backwards to a more punitive system.  Justin Trudeau promised in his first campaign to reset the system in a more progressive direction.  He had 4 + years to do so.  Turns out not much has changed and little is being said of future plans in the current campaign.  See “Harper was tough on crime, Trudeau promised a new approach – did he deliver?” by Jane Gerster, Global News, posted October 6, 2019 4:00 am.

Other options: my husband and I could spring for a lawyer rather than leave Yasik to work out his own legal aid.  He got into this mess and we established our take on that right from the beginning of ‘The Troubles’,  telling him even when he was barely 16 that he had to take care of the legal repercussions of his actions. Recently though, we did talk to a lawyer who did not encourage us to seek out a lawyer for Yasik because there is little that can be done at this stage anyway.   And no one is asking us to become involved.  The current probation officer called us as she prepared her pre-sentencing report.  We assured her that we are willing to be involved with a caveat that Yasik also be getting a rehab recommendation.  We are not prepared to work with a still addicted Yasik without support.  That is rational is it not?  Anymore options?   Well, there is also the activist option which I keep shelving for the present. I could get involved with Moms Stop the Harm or return to AL-ANON or whatever activism is encouraged in my small town. In lieu of stepping out in activism, I know there is always the good old ‘look for the silver lining’ fall back.  Who knows, some serious prison time in a medium security prison, likely near to his home and just as likely with cellmates he knows, may be just the thing.  The memoir, The Master Plan, could not have been written had it not been first experienced by Chris Wilson.

Right now though, it is going to be hard to tell me not to rub the genie’s lantern, if only out of petulant self-pity.

Author: Gail Vincent

I am a 2/3er, physically, emotionally, intellectually, socially, spiritually. I never quite get where I am expected to go or personally choose to go. It is evident in this blog set up to examine such a life. Still, hopefully, a bit of self-awareness energizes the need to keep seeking for I want to tell my son his story.

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